Delhi Capitals are placed at the second spot and will clash with Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) on September 22 in their first match of the second leg of the Indian Premier League (IPL 2021) tournament in Dubai on September 22. However, their decision to stick with Rishabh Pant as captain of the franchise for the remainder of the tournament raised a few eyebrows.
Shreyas Iyer, the regular captain, who took the DC to the finals of the IPL 2020 last year, had injured his shoulder before the IPL 2021 began in April in India and was ruled out of the tournament. After much deliberation, DC team management decided to invest in young Rishabh Pant as captain over the experienced Shikhar Dhawan and Ravichandran Ashwin or Steve Smith.
Pant excelled in his role as the captain and led the Delhi Capitals to the no.1 spot in the points table when the IPL 2021 was suspended in May due to COVID complications. However, when the tournament was shifted to the UAE and rescheduled, Shreyas Iyer had regained fitness and rejoined the squad, but DC management decided to continue with Pant as the captain for the UAE leg as well.
Sanjay Manjrekar on ESPNCricinfo said that Delhi Capitals made absolutely the right decision to continue with Rishabh Pant as captain for the remainder of IPL 2021.
“Absolutely right and it was a great decision (to keep Rishabh Pant as captain of the team) I though,” said Manjrekar.
Rishabh Pant Had Done Well For Himself As Delhi Capitals Captain: Dale Steyn
Apart from Manjrekar, former South Africa fast bowler Dale Steyn also supported the decision to keep Rishabh Pant as DC captain despite the return of Shreyas Iyer. He cited the fact that Delhi Capitals are placed at no.2 on the IPL 2021 points table right now and he would actually want him to continue to lead till the end of the tournament.
“Absolutely, they being no.2 on the log right now. He (Rishabh Pant) has done fairly well for himself so far. I would carry on with him as captain till the end of the tournament and then see how it goes from there,” said Dale Steyn.
Delhi Capitals have won 5 games from 8 encounters in the first half of the IPL 2021 and will face SRH who are last on the points table with 1 win from seven matches in the tournament thus far.